Muscatine County, Iowa

1901 – 1954


~ PART 3 ~

Transcribed, as written, by Lynn McCleary. Submitted November 3, 2019

Page 53



Davenport News Mongers Think Cut
Off Will Be Built.


Would Run to Ottumwa and Thus a
Much Shorter and Better Line Than
By Way of Cedar Rapids, as Now The Case.

    Rumors persist to circulate to the effect that Muscatine is to secure the much-talked of Milwaukee cut off from Davenport to Ottumwa. The Davenport Times of yesterday says that there is every indication that this year will see some remarkable improvements made by some of the railroads with which Davenport is favored, in this vicinity, and all of them a r e of a kind that will be of vast benefit to the City.

     The Times than continues as follows:

     "If you want to hear railroad talk," remarked a well known gentleman, this morning, "go down around the Schmidt building. There is lots of it down there. "

     It is stated to be a fact, however, that the president of one of the great western roads was in this city for a few days recently and the matter of a shorter line to Chicago was the subject under discussion most of the time, while he was here. It is known that the Milwaukee directory has been very anxious for some time to make improvements along its line whereby it could beat the freight time it has been making to Chicago from Kansas City. The line after leaving Ottumwa goes on by Marion and thence to Clinton and it is said that the grade at Marion has been one of the things that has been a time killer for the road ever since it was constructed beyond that point. The Milwaukee is now desirous of making an improvement that will do away with this particular obstacle.

     While it is now given out officially, the trend of events has clearly forecasted to some extent what the Milwaukee intends to do in order to improve its system and make it a greater competitor of the Rock Island and other roads. With this scheme in view there is every reason to believe that the shortening of the line, long in contemplation, will be a …

Page 54

… matter that will receive practical attention at the beginning of the spring season. This can be done by the building of a line from Ottumwa to Davenport, and this, it is reported, is what some of the officials of the Milwaukee company have been considering for a long while. They have been thinking of it so long, it might be said, that the rumor of more than one Milwaukee contemplated improvement has crystalized into fact. By the building of a line from Ottumwa to Davenport, the Milwaukee will shorten its distance between the former city and Chicago by at least 24 miles. The Flick & Johnson company of this city has done most of the Milwaukee's construction work for the past few years in this section and it is more than probable that it will have charge of the work on the new line contemplated.

Page 55



Board of Directors Increase Stock to Build it.


Work will Begin Within 90 Days--
Exact Survey Not yet Made But
It Will Reduce Distance From
Chicago to Kansas City.

     Speculation is transformed into certainty and within 90 days it is announced that work is to begin on the proposed Milwaukee short line connecting Sabula Junction with Ottumway by way of Davenport, Muscatine and Columbus Junction. The confirmation of this report is found in the press dispatches from New York stating the action of the board of directors in session there last week, when they increased the capital stock of the company 10 per cent for construction purposes. The dispatch is as follows:

Board Decides For It.

     "New York--The directors of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad at their monthly meeting in this city recommended an increase of 10 per cent in the capital stock of the company to provide $4, 300, 000 to pay for the Kansas City "cut-off" and reimburse the company's treasury for $4,522,520 capital expenditures."

Confirmation From Chicago

     In regard to the Milwaukee extensions, the Chicago Tribune has this to say:

     "The Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad company has decided to build a line from Davenport to Ottumwa, la. It is also the intention of the company to form an air line from Duluth to Kansas City by extending the Mason City branch from Fort Dodge to Boone, la. , and build from Clive or Des Moines to Chillicothe, …

Page 56

… Mo., and connecting these with the main line in Kansas City. "

Some Big Plans

     Another Chicago paper tells of the extensions of the Milwaukee to the west, south and southwest as follows:

     "Plans have been made for important extensions of the St. Paul system. The most extensive project is to build a line 700 miles from Evarts, S. D. to Helena, Mont. This line would practically parallel the Northern Pacific. "

     "The apparent intention of the Burlington to push on to the Pacific coast has been duly considered by the St. Paul management and neither company is liable to surrender any advantage to the other. The St. Paul company is in financial shape to warrant the early commencement of work on an extension from South Dakota into Montana without interfering with the plans decided upon for an extension from Davenport to Ottumwa, Ia., or with the plans of an air line from Dubuque to the southwest by the extension of the Mason City line from Fort Dodge to Boone, l a . , and the building of a new line from either Clive or Des Moines to some points on the present main line to Kansas City, probably Chilicothe, Mo.

     "Surveys have been made for the new line from Davenport to Ottumwa and the work of construction will commence within 90 days. When this road is built the St. Paul will have one of the shortest and best lines between Chicago and Kansas City.

Jubilant at Ottumwa

     The people of Ottumwa a r e jubilant in regard to the proposed cut off of the Milwakee as is evidenced by the following in the Courier:

     "The news was received in this city with a feeling of s a t i s faction that the Milwaukee railroad company voted to increase their capital stock 10 per cent to pay for the much talked cut off between this city and Davenport and the construction of 700 miles of road between Evarts, South Dakota, and Helena, Mont. The amount of increase is nearly $9, 000, 000.

Page 57

     This news confirms the story printed in yesterday's Courier that the cutoff was assured. It is semi-officially announced that work will be commenced as soon as possible this spring and that the company expects to have the road completed between this city and Davenport by next winter. The benefits of this undertaking can hardly be estimated for Ottumwa. With the building of the new route on the Burlington between here and Agency, business men in this city should enjoy prosperity in a more substantial manner than was ever known. It is understood that the work on the Milwaukee cutoff will be started from here and Davenport, and if that is the case this city will be made the headquarters of the road for the time being. "

Directors Issue Statement.

     A story emanating from New York appears in the telegram as follows:

     "Chairman Roswell Miller, of the board of directors of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St, Paul railroad has issued a formal circular explaining the action of the board authorizing an increase of the company's capital stock to the amount of 10 per cent. This increase will amount to $8,822,520 of new common stock, and is issued for the purpose of replacing funds expended out of the company's income for construction account, and also to provide about $4,300,000 for the building of the projected Kansas City cut-off and for other construction work. "

Now Considered A Certainty.

     With such an array of confirming circumstances the building of the line is now considered a certainty. And that Muscatine is to be located on it is practically assured also. The central portion of the line, or that part running from Davenport to Columbus Junction is practically located. But beyond Columbus Junction …

Page 58

… there is some uncertainty as to the final survey to be adopted. The Kansas City division may be met at Hedrick,, at Ottumwa, or at some intermediate point. If Hedrick is made the junction point the line from Columbus Junction will be south of the Rock Island track and north of that of the Iowa Central and Burlington & Western, which latter runs to Oskaloosa. If the Junction is made nearer Ottumwa, which is 14 miles from Hedrick the Iowa Central and Burlington and Western t r a c k s will be crossed and an open stretch of country tapped to the south between them and the "Q. " In any case, it seems that Washington is to be left to the north of the line, though it may connect by a stub.

Above Davenport.

     There is some question also as to the route above Davenport, Discussing it a Davenport railroad official spoke as follows:

     "While I have not been notified officially in regard to the matter , I have pretty good evidence that the C. M. & St. P. will have certain pretty definite plans in regard to the short line to Kansas City, It is my opinion that from the main line of the road east of Savanna, a line will be built cutting in on the line now coming down from Fulton at some point near Port Byron, From Port Byron to East Moline the trains will probably be run to Moline Rock Island and Davenport over the D. R. I. & N. W. tracks and from Rock Island the train will cross to Davenport over the N. R. T. & N. W. bridge. From the Davenport station the run would be made to the Rock Island tracks and the Milwaukee would then run the trains over the C. R. I. & P. goes as far as Columbus Junction. Although this line of the Rock Island handles a large number of trains, it could still carry the through trains of the Milwaukee without any difficulty.

     “It is my idea that from Columbus Junction a new track would be built to Ottumwa and in this way the Milwaukee would cut off the undesirable extra mileage that it now has by way of Cedar Rapids.

Page 59

North Side Probable

     A Davenport paper discusses the line above that city as follows:

     As a matter of fact the route of the Milwaukee's new line to this city has not been determined. It may come down one side of the river or the other. There are arguments in favor of each and arguments against each.

     If the Milwaukee uses the line that is now laid down the short route is on the other side of the river. It is 56 miles from Savannah to Rock Island, while it is 69 from Sabula to Davenport by the way of Delmar Junction, an advantage of 13 miles in favor of the eastern side of the river.

     But the Milwaukee owns its bridge at Sabula, and it has no bridge here, and when it lands in Rock Island, it has "one more river to cross, " and that by some other road's bridge.

     As for the crossing of the river, the Milwaukee is now grading and making other arrangements for the construction of a modern double track bridge at Sabula to replace the one that is there. This does not look like the payment of bridge rentals here for the privilege of using a single tract structure and killing over half an hour of time at this point, when its object is to get across the country from Chicago to Kansas City quicker than any competitor.

     Another indication of the lay of the land is the work that the Milwaukee has been doing in cutting down the big hill in this city, and otherwise getting its track in shape, leading out of this town, for heavy and fast trains. It has the best uphill line out of the city today and it is in shape to handle heavy traffic at any advantage. Furthermore, it is known …

Page 60

… that exhaustive surveying have been done between this city and the main line to the north of here , and laid out cutting off the corner of which Delmar Junction is the angle and making the line on this side shorter than the one on the other. The line leaves the present line on this side shorter than the one on the other. The line leaves the present line of the road on the Duck Creek bottom, a few miles out of Davenport, and make a practically straight shoot for the Sabula Bridge. All things considered, it is more likely that the Milwaukee will build the short stretch of track needed to connect it up on this side of the river, use its own new bridge at Sabula, and be in shape to make fast time connecting Rock Island and Moline with its line over here by a plug service over the D. R. I. & N. W. bridge, than it is to try to make good time with its through trains over the route on the eastern side of the Missippi with its slow bridge service here, and its excessive switching and slow time, and its high bridge tolls.

     But, as a matter of fact, the thing has not been finally determined. The line is to be built, and that is the one sure thing to date. All that can be said now is that it is likely to take this side, but this is not a fixed fact.

Page 61



     The Davenport Democrat of last evening has some new and different conjectures on the sale of the D. R. I. & N. W. railroad. This is the road reported sold to the Milwaukee and the Burlington to be used by them in shortening their routes. On another page of the Journal will be found an item from the Moline Dispatch stating that the Q. contemplates shortening its line to Omaha and may build through Muscatine to Mt. Pleasant. The Democrat now says that an entirely different road, the C. P. & W. has made the purchase. The article is as follows:

     The Davenport, Rock Island & Northwestern road, the Crescent bridge, the Carbon Cliff extension, the tri-city terminals and rolling stock, and everything else in sight that is Dri or wet, was sold this morning. The general offices of the road in the McManus block will be closed, the Northwestern and the Q. will not get into the city, as insuperable barrier has been reared against the Milwaukee cutoff, all the guesses of the past fortnight have been proven wide of the mark, even the Gilbertown suspension bridge is up in the air, and the lamb and the lion have laid down together with the lion on the inside.

     "The Democrat is able to state on good authority" that the octopus that has wound i t s tentacles around the new road and swallowed and assimilated it is the C. P. & . Most of our readers may not know who the C. P. & W. is. This is the short name for the Chicago, Peoria & Western, Just why it was called the Chicago, Peoria & Western is not known. It is owned by the Glucose trust, and it made its advent into the tri-cities very quietly and modestly, when the Glucose company bought a second hand switch engine and commenced doing its own switching in connection with its plant in this city. Whether it owns any track here is not known, except as its purpose of the Tri-City route puts it in possession of some.

Page 62

     Newspaper men who can't do their own guessing are warned that this item is copyrighted and that they reproduce at their own risk.

     The only people in the city who do not know a thing about the reported sale of the property outright, or at least of track rights of the Davenport, Rock Island & Northwestern, to the Milwaukee and the C. R. & Q. roads are the general officers of the road that is reported to be sold out. The air is so full of talk that you can't hear yourself think.

     The determination of the route of the Milwaukee's Kansas City line is still unannounced. The more the matter is studied, however, the more there are who believe that the deal, on the Milwaukee's part, if any deal has been made, has been largely for the purpose of getting possession of the short and level line between Clinton and Davenport, enabling the Milwaukee to use its own bridge at Sabula, to come to this city on a water level, and to go from here toward the southwest an equal distance on a level of the same kind, with the possibility of routing its trains by the line on the other side of the river in the event of need to do so, and with facilities here for picking up the traffic of Rock Island and Moline, without the need of slow time through those towns.

Page 63


May Get The Milwaukee Cut Off To Ottumwa.

Washington Would Then Be on Line and Hedrick Might Be the
Point of Junction With the Main Line.

     The surveying party of the Milwaukee railroad under the leadership of Chief Engineer A. G. Baker and chief surveyor Warren Nicker son, are in Muscatine today. They began work immediately after dinner this afternoon looking over a line going west from Muscatine toward Conesville, cutting out Columbus Junction and going from Conesville to Washington.

     Neither of these gentlemen will speak authoritatively in regard to the plans of the Milwaukee railroad, but the Journal feels no hesitation after talking with them this morning in stating that there is positively no doubt but that the Milwaukee railroad will be built through Muscatine this summer.

Undecided About Route.

     The surveyors are as yet undecided about the southwest line of the road. It has been said all along that they would use the Rock Island tracks to Columbus Junction, but the presence of the surveyors here today reveals another proposition. As stated in the foregoing they start today to look over another line going west from Muscatine to or near Cone and from thence to Washington, making the tracks from Muscatine exclusively Milwaukee rails.

Page 64

Mr. Baker Interviewed.

     Mr. Baker came in from Chicago this morning with orders to make the survey ordered, Mr. Nickerson and his party of about eight men came up from Columbus Junction on the Firefly this morning. Mr. Nickerson when seen said that he could say nothing whatever to the reporter except that he had orders to come here with his party and would receive orders here, Mr. Baker told the Journal representative of the plans of this new survey. He said that the ground would be thoroughly looked over here abouts before any decision is made as to the route of the road, the principal difficulty seeming to be to get away from the Muscatine slough and Muscatine Island.

Hard On Columbus Junction.

     "The Columbus Junction people think the new idea hard, of course, " said Mr. Baker, "But what we are looking for is simply the shortest and best line without regard to territory," The road to Cone would open up a fine country to Muscatine, yet it is not at all sure that the line would run directly to the city of Cone unless that was right in the line that was considered the best route. The Milwaukee is evidently going to be very independent in its search for the best and shortest line.

     The attention of the chief engineer of the road was called to this route by some parties interested in Conesville and as a result of this the new survey is to be made.

Where It Would Go.

     The new route proposed would follow the river to Muscatine and then instead of gaining the high grade by crossing the island the track would run alongside the Western for a short distance 3ut of the city and then a direct cut would be made for Cone. After crossing the Iowa river west of Cone Goose creek would be the means of a gradual ascent to the prairie across which the line could run in a straight line with scarcely a grade or cut to Washington. From there, being so far to the north, it is probable …

Page 65

… the road would run to the main line at a point further north than previously surveyed. Hedrick would probably be that point. It is positively claimed by those pushing the matter that the route here outlined is a few miles shorter and much more level than any heretofore proposed.

No Union Depot.

     Muscatine would much prefer a union depot for all roads entering the city and the present location of the Rock Island and Western is a very convenient one. But if the Milwaukee line is built through Cone it would run up Mad creek to get out of the city and would in all probability round the East Hill bluff and construct its depot on East Second street. Of course a switch could be built to the present depot, but time is the great consideration with the Milwaukee people and the chances would favor the east end depot. This would then be very favorably located for the proposed Des Moines, Iowa City & Eastern which would come down Mad Creek and cross the river bridge.

Page 66


On New Milwaukee Line Beyond
Columbus Junction.


Iowa River is very high--Rural Delivery Carriers
Have Difficulties ---- Newsy Grist From a Busy
Town In Louisa County.

     Columbus Junction, March 22.--The surveyors working on the new cut-off of the Milwaukee from this point to Ottumwa are still in the neighborhood of this city. They have two routes in view. One is north of the Rock Island and the other is up Monkey Run on the south side. The latter is generally considered the best but as yet no one can say positively which will be chosen. Either route will miss Cotter, Ainsworth and Washington.

Page 67



Milwaukee Will Not Go Out Of Way To
Strike Towns


Surveyors Are At Work Today Between Muscatine
And Letts—Definite Plans Will Not Be Ready For
Some Time

     The Milwaukee Railway surveyors are at work today between Muscatine and Letts and intend to make a general survey of the various routes before they decide on any definite plans of construction. Several different lines are being considered by them, and nothing but the shortest route will have any weight with them when making their final decision.

Cone Wants Line

     The residents of Conesville are anxious to get the road through their town and have communicated with the management of the railroad in regard to the matter and have received no encouragement other than that the line may pass through that place provided it is on the shortest route by which they can get to Ottumwa.

Letters Received

     H. R. Williams, general manager of the Milwaukee system, has written that their engineers are on the ground for the purpose of seeing what can be done and states that the one aim of the company is to meet with easy grades and get the shortest line possible. D. J. Whittemore has also written that a corps of engineers are making a reconnaiscance from Muscatine westerly towards Washington and says that definite plans cannot be decided upon until they report but whether they will strike Cone is a question that remains to be determined.

Page 68


Will Make Final Location of Milwaukee Cut-Off

Line Will Not Pass Through Columbus Junction, Letts or
Conesville—A Year Necessary To Complete The Road

     Another Milwaukee railway surveying party in charge of locating engineer H. 0. Evans arrived in the city last evening for the purpose of making the final survey for the Kansas City cut-off. They are quartered at the Grand and will work out of Muscatine for three or four weeks. The party consists of H. 0. Evans, a locating engineer; T. B. Downer, of the city, transitman; S. P. Walker, of Chicago, levelman; S. H. Ashley, of Milton, Vermont; John Ranous, of Chicago, Eugene Olin, of Chicago; G. S. Lane, of Sac City, Iowa; and A. K. T. Baker, of Chicago.

Will Make Straight Line

     Mr. Evans states that they will follow practically the preliminary line made by the surveying party which visited Muscatine two weeks ago and will probably not pass through Letts or Columbus Junction but will pass within a mile or so of Conesville. This party will begin work not far west of Hershey's saw mill and will work very slowly as they are to make the final location of the line and must make every curve and grade, and take note of every land line. The route is to be as near straight as possible between this city and Washington.


     When asked how long it would take to complete the line Mr. Evans remarked that if they worked constantly they would do well to have trains running in a year so no one need imagine they hear the train whistles blowing already. He stated that while the company might like to run through every town along the line they could not help missing a few of them if they made the route at all straight, and said that they had found that businesses would find its way to the railroads whether they passed through the many small places along the line or not. Division Engineer A. G. Baker has charge of the entire cut-off survey and Will probably visit the Muscatine party several times before They leave the city.

Page 69



     A prominent Muscatine citizen, who has had considerable correspondence with the Milwaukee railroad officials lately, received a letter today from headquarters stating that use of the Rock Island tracks from Davenport would not interfere in the Milwaukee taking business from Muscatine. The statement is one which seems to prove that Muscatine is "surely in it" in every sense of the word. It has been thought by some that the use of the Rock Island tracks from Davenport would be given only on conditions that there would be no competition for Muscatine business. The letter received this morning says: "The use of the Rock Island tracks Davenport will have no bearing on our getting business at Muscatine.

     The matter of making Muscatine a division point was also mentioned. This matter has been worked on quietly for this gentleman for some time. Unfortunately the prospect for this does not seem to be as bright as some might wish. Yet there has been no statement thus far that the thing is impossible. Muscatine through the efforts of her citizens may get in line after all.



     Washington, April 22 - Two Milwaukee engineering parties are in the city awaiting orders from the officials of the company. They finished Saturday the survey from Muscatine to Rutledge via this place. Division Engineer A. G. Baker has gone to Chicago to submit his plats and charts, and if they are acceptable to the officals of the road, the final survey and grading will be commence at once. It is thought the cut-off, shortening the line from Chicago to Kansas City, will be completed within the year.

     Richland, April 22 - The Milwaukee cut-off is attracting wide attention in this neighborhood. A corps of engineers under the direction of Chief Baker has been working on the other side of Skunk River all week. They have confined their work between Grace Hill and the river. They crossed the river at the same place as their former survey. They made many changes on the other side and they now have an excellent route between here and Washington. We understand that the final survey has been completed and grade stakes will soon follow. The north end of Richland is taking on some since the Milwaukee surveyors were here. People seem to want lots in the north end of town. It is the general opinion that the Milwaukee line into Richland will start the town to more in the way of building.

Page 70


President Earling and Party Were in Muscatine This Morning.

To Decide if Road Cut-off Here or at Columbus Junction
Will Use Rock Island Tracks and Depot and
Facilities in Muscatine Not Affect Business--

     The leading officials of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad, arrived in Muscatine this morning to decide the one final point which will provide the letting of the contracts and the commencement of construction of the new cut-off through Muscatine to Kansas City. This point is, whether the line shall branch right out from Milwaukee to Washington or proceed to Columbus Junction and there cut off to Washington. The party left this morning to drive over the country from here to Washington. The lay of the land will thus be inspected and before evening the fate of Columbus Junction in this connection will be decided.

     The Milwaukee will use the Rock Island tracks from Davenport and the present plan is to put in a double track soon between here and that city. They will a l so use in common with the Rock Island their facilities in this city.

Official Here Today.

     The gentlemen here today are the heads of the several departments of the Milwaukee road as follows:

     A. J. Earling, president; D. J. Whittemore, chief engineer; H. R. Williams, general manager; F. A. Miller, general passenger agent.

Page 71

     They are also accompanied by E, W. McKenna, of Chicago.

     The party arrived in the president's private car on the 7:58 Rock Island train from Chicago this morning and after enjoying their morning meal walked up town and met Chief Survey Baker at the field office over Havercamp's drug store. Here a short consultation was held and maps and outlines were gathered up to be taken with the party in their drive overland this morning.

The President Talks.

     A Journal representative joined the party while they were in the surveyor's office. When President Earling was approached he spoke frankly and without reserve. "Our party is here today, " he said, "To decide whether this new cut-off will branch out to Washington from Muscatine or proceed to Columbus Junction and then turn off to Washington. I can not give you any idea at present as to which course we will decide upon. It will depend entirely upon what we find in our drive over the land between here and Washington today. No, Mr. Baker has made no recommendations in regard to the matter yet, and there is nothing definite whatever in regard to the matter."

The Road A Sure Thing.

     The reporter then said to President Earling: "Mr. Earling, as yet we have nothing what might be called an official announcement of the fact that this cut-off is surely to be built."

     Mr. Earling looked somewhat surprised at this and answered: "Why, of course, it is to be built. There is no doubt at all about that. We are only waiting for this final survey to let the contracts for construction. No, I could not say when we expect the line to be completed and trains running but it will certainly be as soon as possible."

Page 72

Double Track From Davenport.

     “The plan is to use the Rock Island tracks from Davenport Here," continued Mr. Earling, "and a double track between the cities is also anticipated. There are already about 11 miles of double track and it is expected to complete the rest of the distance to Muscatine. In Muscatine we will use the Rock Island's facilities in common with them, including depot, ect.”

     Under the circumstances this information is hardly considered good news, especially as it seems to preclude the possibility of Muscatine being a division point for the present at least. The latter idea has been the fondest hope of some of the more optimistic railroad enthusiasts.

     Those who look on the bright side of things, however, say That at least the arrangement may bring Muscatine a new Rock Railroad depot, as it is thought that the present old building would Finally be sufficient to take care of the business of both roads.

Will Compete for Business.

     The reporter at this point brought up the question that has been raised regarding the report that the two roads would under these circumstances not compete for business as rival concerns in this city. “Under these circumstances," said the reporter, "will there competition for business between the two roads in this city?” “Why, yes, was the answer." we will go after business As we always do."

     Mr. Earling gave this information without hesitation, but it Has been suggested by some that some agreement probably exists Between the two roads in regard to Muscatine business. There Is no authority for this idea, but the opinion has been expressed generally that some sort of a division of Muscatine business will be carried on by the two roads.

Page 73

Will Not Affect Traffic.

     This idea was strongly denied by another official of the road who was with the party. He said, "I heard a gentleman saying that because we used the Rock Island tracks the two roads would practically be as one in regard to business from Muscatine.

     This of course is not true. The Milwaukee will go after business in Muscatine and be run in all matters just as though trains were running on tracks of her own."

     It is said that this permission or agreement given to another road to use their tracks is often entered into among railroads, the matter being a sort of business courtesy which it is considered advisable to foster. In this connection it is also reported that there is at the present time a stretch of Milwaukee track in Minnesota which the Rock Island wishes to use and which would be just about an offset to this deal here.

Return to Chicago Tonight.

     The party left this morning for their drive to Washington. Their private car will be taken to Washington this afternoon to meet them, and the gentlemen return to Chicago tonight.

     From remarks dropped by the officials here it is hardly to be expected that the road can be built and ready for use inside of a year. The visit of these gentlemen today, however, establishes beyond a shadow of doubt that Muscatine is surely soon to be a part of the grand system of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railway, and a part too of one of the most important main lines, the shortest line between Chicago and Kansas City.

Page 74


Milwaukee Cut-Off Will Be Settled In A Few Days

     Washington, May 8—Engineer Baker, in charge of a corps of Wilwaukee engineers, says that the work of laying out the route of the new cut-off will be finished by May 15. The final route has not yet been selected. As soon as this is done contracts for construction of the line will be let immediately.


Planning for a Line Out of Muscatine


Road Officials Have Suggested That Material
Changes Be Made In Proposed Route—Will Cut
Straight Through Bluffs

    The Milwaukee railway surveyors are again in Muscatine and are making their survey to find the best line out of the city. So far the final survey has been completed some twelve miles into the country and runs about three miles north of Letts. The party who are at work on the preliminary survey have almost completed their work. The line as laid out by them crossed the B.C.R. & N. railway just south of Conesville and goes on a direct line to Washington. It seems now, however, that the line is to be materially changed and the work is most set back where it was one month ago, as the officials of the road, who visited Muscatine several days since, have suggested that some great changes to be made which one or two of the surveyors are inclined to believe are no improvements.

May Tunnel Bluffs

    Instead of going straight down the Burlington road, as was the original plan, it now seems that the proposed line is to be abandoned and a new one arranged for south of the slough. This line as made out by the road officials, will run for a short distance on the island and will then make a sharp cut to the northwest and will hit the bluffs straight, grading and tunneling through them as is seen fit by the surveyors. The new line will undoubtedly be of greater expense to the road, but may lessen the length of the grades. The line, as originally surveyed, cut up some valuable property in the south end of the city and by making this contemplated change fewer houses, barns and backyards will be found on the line of survey. The question of a switch yard is also before the surveyors just at present and they expect to be in the city at least a week before completing their work. Today the party is engaged in cutting several curves on the line.

Page 75


Washington thinks it is Going to Get the Road Without Fail

    Washington, la., May 15—Railway Commissioner Palmer, Postmaster Cunningham and Winfield Smouse have returned from Chicago, where they were given a hearing with President Earling, of the Milwaukee Railway. The president stated to the committee that he was well pleased with the options secured on property through this city. The Columbus Junction route has practically been abandoned. The officials say they will tunnel the Muscatine bluffs, if necessary to get to Washington. The engineers are now at work at Muscatine.


That Milwaukee Has Purchase M. N. & S. Ry


Says Milwaukee Will Abandon Survey for Cut-Off—Local Officers
of Road Know Nothing of Such a Change—May Extend

     Wapello, May 16—It is rumored that the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad company has purchased the Muscatine North and South, and that they will abandon the survey made through the northern part of the country and will use the roadbed of the Muscatine North and South from Muscatine to Wapello, thence from this place will build west to Ottumwa. It is thought that while this route will be a little longer than the survey that has been made through the northern part of the county, yet owing to the fact that the country from Wapello west is much more level with less fills and cuts, that the company can make better time by coming this way. It is also rumored that Wapello will be made an end of a division on the Milwaukee.

Official Surprised

     General Manager Charles Howard, of the M. N. & S. Ry. is in Chicago today but Auditor Reeder was seen by a Journal representative this afternoon and seemed surprised when told of Wapello wild rumor. He said it was news to him.

     The M. N. & S. Ry. officials have another plan on foot just now and that is to extend the road from Davenport to Burlington. Whether this improvement will be made can not yet be determined but it has been considerably talked of lately.

Page 76



     A private letter to the Journal received today from an official of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad says that the loan of the new Milwaukee cut-off is not yet decided. On the principle that "While there is life there is hope" the people of Letts, Columbus Junction, etc. , can keep up their spirits some-what.

     There have been a number of rumors lately that the direction of the line had been decided but this letter shows that as yet there is no official decision. The gentleman who addresses the Journal is in the passenger department and he says: "I beg to say that this department is not yet advised of the location of our new line. I will be pleased to give you the information as soon as we receive it ourselves. It is my understanding that the line is not yet definably located.

Page 77


Immediately after survey is determined upon 2,500 men are to be on the ground for work on Milwaukee

     A. C. Hagensick, chief clerk of the right of way division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway is in the city today and states that 2,500 men may be at work on the new Kansas City cutoff within a very short time.

     The Milwaukee surveyors who are in the city have almost completed the survey of four or five different routes and within 10 or 12 days, Mr. Hagensick says they will probably be ready to submit their plans to the President and general managers of the road, who will come immediately, if possible, and make a selection of the best route. He states that it is the custom of the high officials to drive over the proposed routes after the surveys have been completed and make a selection of the best one. When asked how long it would be after they made the selection before actual work would be commenced he said: "Our agents will come the very next day and as soon as they can secure the right of way 2,500 men will be put to work. Time is money and the work is going to be pushed."

Visits Property Owners

     Mr. Hagensick states that the matter of using the C. R. I. & P. Ry. racks from Muscatine southwest depends largely upon the prices asked for right of way by the property owners in South Muscatine. He spent the morning in the county treasurer's offices of looking over the tax stubs that he might know the actual value of 11 pieces of property before visiting their owners this afternoon.

Regarding Competition

     Regarding competition he said: "Competition depends wholly upon whether we can get a right of way and land for depot and yard purposed in this city at reasonable figures. If the property owners ask exhorbitant prices we will perhaps be forced to use the C. R. I. & P. tracks and if we do this, competition would not be great. Though we would give the best of service and be glad to get all the Muscatine trade possible it would hardly fair for us to cut the prices of a competitive railroad upon tracks we are running."

Page 78



Milwaukee Will Run Through or Near Conesville and
the Chief Clerk of the Right of Way Expects Work To
Begin Within the Next Two Weeks Between Muscatine
And Ottumwa

     The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway company will run trains From Muscatine west on its own rails and not over those of the C. R. I. & P. Ry.—so stated Chief Clerk A. C. Hagensick, of the Right of way division to a Journal representative last evening.

     “I have spent part of the day interviewing property owners of South Muscatine regarding right of way," said Mr. Hagensick, “and find that they are willing to part with their property at reasonable prices so it is practically an assured fact that will use our own tracks out of this city, which means competition."

     Regarding the beginning of actual work, he said: "I believe that we will be able to commence actual work on this cut-off within two weeks from today and will have work for in the neighborhood of 2,500 men between Muscatine and Ottumwa."

     “Will you place your own men on the work of use local labor?"

     “There will be work for every one in Muscatine who is willing and able to work. It means a great deal to the cities and towns along the line, I think, for no one will need to loaf while the work is going on."

Where Line Goes

     The line will leave Muscatine north of the slough and run directly west, going over the bluffs on a gradual incline. In regard to stricking Conesville Mr. Hagensick states that it necessitates building the line one half a mile out of the originally planned route to go through there but that this will be done if the residents of that place will comply with the company's requests which are to furnish right of way through the town and a depot site free." If this is done we will run into Cone," he said, “and if not we will cut off that curve and run farther south as The business will come anyway."

Page 79


Washington Report Says Cut-Off May Not Be Built


Reason Given is That E. H. Harriman, New Head of
Milwaukee, Not Approve Of the Line—Rate Wars to End

     Advices have reached the city from Washington to the effect that the work of preparation for the new short line between Davenport and Ottumwa on the Milwaukee have come to a stop for a time at least. It is said that since Harriman has secured control of the Milwaukee the new line will not be built, but it is evident that the Washington Report is not well founded.

Origin of Report

     What probably started the rumor is the report that Washington parties had received notice to the effect that the line would probably not be built through Washington and probably not at all. The word that really was received was for the right-of-way agent H. A. Sutherland to take no deeds, but to insist on options. This is a common procedure among railroads at this stage of the game and does not signify that the cut-off plan is to be abandoned.

     According to the best information that can be secured, the expeditures for the cut-off are not to exceed a certain amount, and the matter is being held as low as possible, and if any hitch arise it will be from the demands of some en route for excessive prices for their property. Even this, however, would be a little consiquence for a route would be quickly surveyed cutting out any such territory, it being the opinion of Milwaukee official that business will come whether a lines goes directly into a town or not.

To End Rate Wars

     E. H. Harriman, head of the railroad syndicate which bears his name, is the author of a movement which is expected to bring about between all the railroads west of Chicago an iron clad agreement to end rate wars and other complications on the Northern Pacific the Burlington, and the Milwaukee and Great Northern lines.

Little Doubt of Change

     Little doubt is entertained but that the Harriman syndicate has acquired control of the Milwaukee and St. Paul on practically the same lines that J. J. Hill secured control of the Burlington. The stock of the St. Paul road will be taken over by the Union Pacific at the October meeting. It is reported that the stockholder of the former line will be offered $200 of 4 per cent for every $100 worth of stock and that the bonds will be guaranteed by the Union Pacific, the Southern Pacific, and the Missouri Pacific, and the Goulds, who are said to be parties to the transaction.

Page 80



     All bids for the construction of the new Kansas City cut-off of the Milwaukee railway have been received and opened and the contract will be let within two weeks or even sooner if President Earling returns from the east. The line from Muscatine to Ottumwa is heavier than any line the Milwaukee road has ever built through its magnificient system embraces a vast area of country. Heretofore, cuts and fills of 40 feet have been about the limit, while the grade going over the bluffs south of this city calls for cuts 50 per cent greater and fills of three times that depth. It is ascertained that the construction of the track will be let in four sections. The first one west of Muscatine will be seven miles long, the next 18 miles, the third 22 miles and the fourth, on the west end of the cut-off 30 miles. The four sections were bid on separately. In the entire cut-off figured there will be 4,000,000 cubic yards of dirt to move. Eleven hundred thousand cubic yards of this amount is In the first seven miles out of Muscatine.


Direction of Milwuakee Road is Now Settled


The New Cut-Off Branches Out at Muscatine and Proceeds
Out Near Cone to Washington and Then to Rutledge.

     It is settled that the new Milwaukee cut-off line through Muscatine When built will branch out directly at this city and proceed out toward Cone. It may not go directly through the City of Conesville but will go very near. That this is now a settled fact comes to the Journal from authority. A Representative of the Journal saw the map of the new road in the offices of the Milwaukee Railroad Company at Chicago and the little red line showing the new road Starts right out from Muscatine City direct to Cone and thence straight to Washington, from which latter place it stretches straight to Rutledge. Rutledge is just a little above Ottumwa and it is here that the road joins what is now the main Kansas City Line.

     The news is good to Muscatine. It means a new country opened up With good railroad service and would be better for the city than of the road used the Rock Island tracks as far as Columbus Junction as it had been thought it might do.

Page 81



     The stories given out to the effect that the Milwaukee may not build their cut-off through Muscatine are nothing but scares.

     The Chicago Tribune announces the route of the cut-off and the intention to build it in its issue this morning.

     The Chicago Tribune's railroad news is the most direct, official and authentic in the west.

     Ahead of any other paper on the line the Journal exclusively gave this same news last evening spelling also the direction of the line.

     The presence of Engineer Baker in the city today also gives evidence that the work is to be again taken up and actively pushed. The Tribune corroborates our statement made in last evening's issue as follows:

Route Chosen for New Cut-Off.

     The route for the new Kansas City cut-off of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul has been definitely located. Arrangements have been made with the Rock Island for the use of its tracks from Davenport to Muscatine, a distance of 27 miles. From Muscatine a line will be built running through Cone and Washington and connecting with the direct Kansas City division at Rutledge, four miles from Ottumwa, la. The branch from Muscatine to Rutledge will be about seventy miles long. This cut-off will take 35 miles from the length of the present line from Chicago to Kansas City.

Page 82


An Alarming Report Regarding the Milwaukee Cut-Off.


The M. N. & S. Extension Matter Comes Up Again and
the Report is That This Will Soon Be Built

     More railroad rumors are in the air and a most alarming one comes regarding the Milwaukee cut-off.

     The Ottumwa Courier says that it has received a personal telegram D. J. Wittemore, chief engineer of the Chicago, Wilwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company reading as follows: "Not yet decided to build cut-off."

     The message copied above was received in answer to a telegram From the Courier asking the names of the towns along the new cut-off.

     The Courier goes on to say: This game of hide and seek that the Milwaukee is playing with the people of Iowa can mean but one thing, and that is that the cut-off project is being delayed by the athletics being indulged in by the stock market. As was stated in the Courier of recent date, the Harriman interests which control the Milwaukee, are about to obtain control of the Stata Fe, and if this is done there will be no need of a cut-off on the Milwaukee road itself.

     No other suitable solution can be offered to the question. “Why does not the Milwaukee build its cut-off?" By all the rules of railroading, work should be begun at once, in order that all possible progress may be made before cold weather begins. The land is nearly all bought and the route is decided upon, as there can be no reason for delay on that score.



     Washington Gazette, 12th: There are no new developments in the Wilwaukee situation. The engineers are busy cross-sectioning the line and H. A. Sutherland is out every day securing options on the right of way. This is pretty good evidence that the idea of building has not been abandoned. On the other hand, the matter of letting contract is still being "held-up" and building of the cut-off unnecessary.

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